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Sky Get Wholesale Access to BUUK Full Fibre Broadband Networks

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 (8:40 am) - Score 5,496
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UK ISP Sky Broadband (Comcast) has made no secret of their desire to work with “full fibre” (FTTH) alternative network (altnet) providers (here) and, in keeping with that, they’ve today agreed a new wholesale access deal with the Brookfield Utilities UK Group (GTC / OFNL), which builds fibre optic networks to UK new build homes.

At present BUUK’s Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) network is estimated to cover somewhere around 50,000 new build houses across various different developments in the United Kingdom, although readers of ISPreview.co.uk may be more familiar with some of their sibling companies like Open Fibre Networks Limited (OFNL / IFNL) and GTC.

Generally the BUUK group builds open access networks and consumers then order ultrafast broadband services over these through a range of smaller wholesale partners, which includes ISPs like Direct Save Telecom, Seethelight and Pure Broadband etc.

Sky already has an existing commercial arrangement with BUUK, which enables their satellite TV service to be distributed over the company’s FTTH network via a centralised Fibre Integrated Reception System (FIRS). However today’s announcement extends this strategic partnership, meaning that Sky will become an anchor tenant for broadband services in new and existing residential developments connected by BUUK.

Stephen van Rooyen, Sky CEO UK & Ireland, said:

“We’re committed to driving forward ultrafast connectivity in the UK and this deal with BUUK enables us to use our anchor tenancy to unlock infrastructure investment, while entering a new market with significant potential for growth.”

Clive Linsdell, CEO BUUK Infrastructure, said:

“As BUUK continues to increase the speed with which we connect new homes to full fibre broadband, we are excited to deepen our partnership with Sky – the UK’s leading broadband and entertainment provider, present in millions of homes across the country. Together, Sky and BUUK will ensure that more consumers can access ultra-fast broadband speeds on the day they move into their new home.”

As part of today’s announcement BUUK has also confirmed that they’re planning to “rapidly increase” the number of new homes they connect, targeting 200,000 new build properties over the next 12 months.

The move also raises a number of interesting questions, such as whether or not Sky will now offer customers on those new builds different packages, speeds and prices from those of their new “ultrafast broadband” plans via Openreach’s G.fast and FTTP network.

BUUK and Openreach’s asymmetric speed full fibre networks aren’t as far apart as some others and so the potential does exist for a similar package design across different platforms, although services via BUUK’s network do tend to be a little cheaper.

Likewise we’ll be interested to see whether or not Sky’s offer is ultimately better or cheaper than that of BUUKs smaller ISP partners (very possible given Sky’s scale). We’ve asked Sky and are awaiting a response.

UPDATE 4:51pm

We’ve seen a couple of reports stating that this is Sky’s first fibre deal outside of Openreach’s network, which is of course incorrect. Sky has previously worked alongside TalkTalk, and initially Cityfibre, to deploy and offer services via an independent FTTH network in the city of York (as we understand it they remain a wholesale partner on that network). Sky has also previously built some of their own FTTH trial networks.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. Avatar TheFacts

    .. disrupted .. ???

  2. Avatar Neb

    “unlock infrastructure investment…” Does this insinuate that Sky (Comcast UK) are going to build their own network elsewhere as well as use other networks?

    • No, Sky have so far done everything they can to avoid building their own fibre and even sold off some of their earlier trial networks a few months ago. Essentially they’re talking about the benefits to infrastructure builders of having Sky as a partner ISP, which can help to make what they build more attractive.

  3. Avatar Matthew

    This is good news for sure many people prefer the bigger ISPs

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      There are a large percentage of broadband customers who will inevitably choose an integrated package and this will undoubtably impact the existing OFNL ISPs that have put a lot of work and effort supporting the new builds. OFNL sites with communal aerial provision can already subscribe to Sky (fed via Gateway Terminal Unit) so it is just a simple step to get broadband as part of the same package.

      Unlike OR New Build their is currently no “open” regulation on these new developments (some of which are very large 7000+ homes). OFNL have always committed to be an “open” network for ISPs which is very welcome but this deal could because of Sky’s size, advertising and purchasing volumes create a near monopoly.

      So we will have to see what the detail of this deal is, what the impact will be and whether they are discussing access with other players. I hope in the meantime the likes of Seethelight and Pure Broadband can give them a run for their money.

  4. Avatar Marty

    I sniff a price rise in coming for sky customers to finance this clap trap.

    • Avatar CarlT

      This isn’t going to make a dent in Sky’s budget. Hardly claptrap either.

    • Avatar Marty

      CarlT And how would you know that exactly? Plus it is claptrap when overbuilding FTTP into places that might have it already it’s a waste of money and resources.

    • Avatar Matthew

      Err this is just them being a seller of someone elses network like Sky is of Openreachs network they aren’t putting any money in to the builds.

    • Avatar Marty

      @Matthew I understand what your saying. What I’m putting across is the joint venture will no doubt involve a contribution from sky for use of the network which will filter down to the customer. And the overbuild in places were openreach already has a presence.

    • Avatar CJ

      Can’t see any mention of a joint venture. The article just says that Sky will take wholesale access.

      Also not sure where overbuild comes in. Their business model is to do exclusive deals with new build developers, so they can be the monopoly provider on the development i.e. there are no Openreach or virgin services at the properties they serve. This should be cheaper and more lucrative than the Cityfibre model of digging up pavements to overbuild Openreach and VM, which is presumably reflected in the commercial terms they offer to developers.

    • Avatar CarlT

      OFNL only do new build. The ‘contribution’ from Sky will be a commitment for a certain amount of take up.

      Given the enormous amounts Sky spend on content the cost of this, even if they end up not reaching their committed take up which is unlikely, will be miniscule.

  5. Avatar GregS

    Any idea when this will be available to consumers on OFNL connected homes?

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